Isla La Manoc: The Best Gem Cebu Never Had

Being an archipelago, the Philippines is blessed with an abundance of natural gems with incomparable beauty. Last 2016, three of the Top 10 islands in the world, as decided by the respective readers of both international publications Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler, are gaining continuous recognition as top destinations in the world ~ Boracay, Palawan and Cebu. The country’s predominance showed that intrepid voyagers are willing to travel great distances for the bounties of cerulean waters and delicate beaches.  However, I will not discount the fact that there are more islands in the Philippines that are equally stunning, awaiting to be discovered. One of which is Isla La Manoc.

Aerial shot of Isla La Manoc by @jak73 thru the lens of @iameleimath’s drone.

Locally known as Manok Manok Island, this untapped island is tucked away off the coast the southern-most tip of Esperanza, Masbate. It is composed of two (2) islets connected by a shallow shifting sand bar like you’ve never seen before. Popular among dauntless travelers, this hidden gem could be the next big thing in the heart of Visayan Seas. Offering a picturesque view and unique tropical experience, it’s high time to put this unassuming island between Cebu and Masbate in your radar!

The Awesome Journey

It was a 2D1N revenge trip to Carnaza Island in Northern Cebu when we had a side trip to the remote and unfamiliar island of La Manoc. It was a fine sunny day when we embarked on our second day of adventure to another offbeat paradise not far from Carnaza Island, Daanbantayan, Cebu. Yes, the neighboring Isla La Manoc was calling us and we must go! Aye, aye, captain!


As soon as our boat left Carnaza Island, I thought I could finally tick off one item in my bucket list ~ to experience cove hopping in the northern-most tip of Cebu Province. And thrilled to strike out one more with just a paddle-jump away!

See our legit cove hopping adventure here: Carnaza Island: Cove Hopping Haven in Cebu.

Isla La Manoc is accessible via a 30-minute boat ride from Carnaza Island. On our way to Manok Manok Island, I asked one of my companions, Jack (@jak73) to take a photo of me while I positioned myself on the boat’s edge. I was amused by his dramatic output (left) versus the rather unusual behind-the-scene shot (right) of one of my close friends, Kim (@kimville_101). LOL! We were just having fun while navigating through the not-so-rough Visayan seas.  Please take note that the best time to go there is in the morning, when the sea is calm and the tide is low (subject of course to the moon’s phase).

Approaching Isla La Manoc, you’ll have a visual feast of two group of islets without noticing the connecting sandbar yet. At first glance, the islets seemed unrelated to each other. But as soon as the boat came closer to Isla La Manoc, white strips of sand became visible to our naked eyes. And the thrilling part had just begun!

The Best Gem Cebu Never Had

The moment we docked to La Manoc’s beach, we hurriedly got off the boat and started to take what seemed like endless snaps of its unique sandbar. When you are on the left side of the island, your photos would have the unique rock formation, albeit smaller islets, as the awe-inspiring backdrop.

The sand of La Manoc Island is composed of mostly of pulverized corals, but not fine like powder. Contrary to what people claimed as white sand, an interesting twist ensued as we noticed that it is mixed with red organ pipe coral (tubipora musica), giving the sandbar its blushing pink hue. You can find a lot of pieces of the red corals that have washed up on the shore.

Considered as a hidden paradise, the natural state of Isla La Manoc is untouched by human development. Currently, it serves as a temporary shelter for tired fishermen and migratory birds. According to the locals, the name originated from the islands’ form. From afar, it looked like two chickens (manok in Visayan dialect) facing each other ~ a cock and a hen. However, ironic as it may seemed, you’ll never find any chicken roaming around the island. LOL!

Drone shot by @jak73 and @iameleimath.

The first islet is larger than the other and houses the wider and longer visible sandbar. When we had enough of islet A, we decided to visit the other one. We transferred from the left islet to the right to get a different angle of the island. And it didn’t disappoint.

What I love about the second islet is that there’s a way up to its bushy pinnacle. We explored around islet B and did an easy climb atop the coral-layered boulder. Up there, you’ll find a perfect spot where you’ll be rewarded with a world-class view of the clear aquamarine water, rose-hue sandbar and the partly-eroded islet where we first stood.

I don’t mind being drifted away to this island. You can name all positive descriptions right then and there ~ alluring.. magnificent.. idyllic.. such a scenic sight to behold!

Thanks Christian (@ian_ko) for this group shot!

Especially, when you have your awesome and supportive friends with you. We sure had a good time and achieved some #FriendshipGoals in Isla La Manoc!

Epic shot by Jack (@jak73) as I’m about to cross the sandbar towards the other islet. Can you spot me in the picture?
You can safely swim around the island’s surrounding waters that are pretty clear and shallow. Or you could walk all the way from islet A to islet B via the special runway made up of sandbar.
Travel Tips
  • The place is ideal for half-day or day-trips. There are no overnight accommodations on the island, and certainly no stable camping grounds as the sandbar shifts or tide goes up.
  • There is NO entrance fee (at least as of writing). However, there is a current house bill declaring it as an ecotourism site wherein rationalization of all sorts of government efforts pertaining to environmental protection and responsible tourism are being highlighted.
  • Boat fare can be expensive if you’re travelling solo, so you may want to join other people to keep costs down. Contact Tirso at 0948-0787-894 for private trip to La Manoc Php 1,500 (big boat, up to 25 pax capacity). Just add Php 2,500 to bring you back to Tapilon port in Daanbantayan, Cebu.
  • Be sure to bring your own food and water for picnics because there are no stores nor covered picnic huts on the island.
  • The signal is weak for all networks. Bring a power bank as electricity is not available there.
  • See itinerary, budget and direction in the “How To Get There” section of the previous post entitled Carnaza Island: Cove Hopping Haven in Cebu.

Manok Manok Island is not for the weak, I must say! Most people would find it very far but the journey (not just the destination) is all worth it. Indeed, there’s no shortcut to any place worth going.

So, it may be time to start planning your trip now and uncover a new wonder in Masbate. Coming from Cebu and in my own unbiased opinion, Isla La Manoc is the best gem Cebu never had.

20 thoughts on “Isla La Manoc: The Best Gem Cebu Never Had

  1. What a beautiful view. Hope that the government would not allow for the development of the island. In my own opinion it is better to in that way. no hotels, no overnigh and no store. So that the island would not be abuse and next generation would also enjoy that wonderful view.

  2. Have definitely put this in my radar. Such a nice island. Nice photos, too. Sucks that I have lived my life just 2 hours away from Masbate but haven’t been there nor have visited this beauty.

  3. Ahhhh! Beautiful island indeed! Totally agree with your title bai! Cebu can’t have it all, at least Masbate has something to offer too! With the looks of the island, I doubt you will mind about it’s distance. It’s a treat to just see the photos what more being there! (Y)

    God Bless!
    JM Kayne | #InMyHeart♥

  4. what a cool place to go! That is like a sandbar, hardly an island! So amazing, I love finding hidden gems like this

  5. I never heard about Isla La Manoc before reading your post. The atmosphere seems very relaxed and quiet; you get close to nature ! I definitively add this place on my travel bucket list 🙂

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